York’s longest-running recording studio could close this year, as its owner considers a new chapter in his life.
Chris Humphreys has run the Jam Factory on Eldon Street for 25 years. In that time it became the place to go in York if you make music.
“If you have been a musician in York over the last 25 years, you have been here,” he told YorkMix.
The Jam Factory is still operating. But its biggest client, a music organisation, is moving on later this year, putting the studio’s viability at risk. In response, Chris is considering what to do next.
The venue is still operating and has no immediate plans to close.
He has submitted a planning application to City of York Council to turn the Jam Factory from a music studio to two houses in multiple occupation.
Chris stressed to YorkMix that the application was “exploratory” at this point. And it may still be that the Jam Factory finds new clients and carries on.
But he now has young children – and working late at night recording tracks with York musicians isn’t compatible with being a family man.
Under the plans, one of the houses would have three bedrooms, the other four bedrooms.
A planning statement says: “The original building dates back to the 1840s where the first phase consisted of a coach house and stables. It has been expanded upon and changed since then.
“The building was bought by the client Chris Humphreys in 1998 and after getting planning permission for three student flats and music rooms, the building has been gradually developed.”
The Jam Factory Music Rooms have been operating for the last 25 years hosting an education provider and renting out the flats.
About the Jam Factory
Chris set up the Jam Factory when he was in his own band and couldn’t find anywhere to rehearse or record. The band is long gone, but the studio prospered.
The Jam Factory includes a state-of-the-art recording studio, alongside rehearsal rooms and technology loft.
“The Jam Factory is in the hub of York’s music scene, providing rehearsal spaces and recording time for many of York’s finest bands of the past, present and future,” the website says.
The Jam Factory has won the Lord Mayor’s Shine Award for Provider Of The Year and the Most Community-Minded Business in the Groves Awards.
For many years, Access To Music worked with the Jam Factory. Through that collaboration, thousands of youngsters have taken music courses with Chris and the team, many going on to related university courses and careers.
“It’s been pretty amazing,” Chris said. “We have worked with so many young people.”
Access To Music moved on in 2022, and then another organisation became the Jam Factory’s biggest client. Now that organisation is set to move on, as of next summer.
Chris said of the Jam Factory: “I will be sad to see it go – but it may be time to move on.”
The plans say: “The intention is to create affordable luxury housing for possibly students or other occupants.”
You can read and comment on the planning application here.